A self-described professional experimenter Sasha Glasgow hosts journalling workshops and the podcast ‘This is Your RemindHer’. She’s showing how journalling rules can be broken to make it work for you.
In this episode we discuss:
Pressing Pause Episode 89 Rebel journalling with Sasha Glasgow
Welcome to Pressing Pause. I’m Gabrielle Treanor, a mindset and positive psychology coach and writer, exploring how we can create, find and feel more calm, ease and joy in our daily lives.
Welcome to episode 89. With Christmas about six weeks away you might already be thinking about how you’re going to juggle all the things you have to do, keep everyone happy, manage work and family and friends and who knows what could happen with the pandemic, and you feel the overwhelm rising up. You want to enjoy the run up to the holiday, get some of the magic back that was lost last year but instead you’re feeling stressed at the thought of it all.
I’ve created a course specifically to tackle your overwhelm and empower you to feel calm, in control and confident you can cope, whatever’s going on in the world and in your life. It’s called Rooted and in this self-paced, online course you’ll discover how to help yourself feel calmer in the moment and long-term, what you can do to feel more in control in an uncertain world, and how to build your confidence so you feel stronger and able to cope.
There’s no pressure to keep up, you take it at your own pace so it will make life better, not busier. You get instant access to the complete online course when you join so there’s no waiting around for more content to be released AND you have lifetime access.
Find out more about how you can feel calm, in control and confident you can cope, now and well into the future, by going to gabrielletreanor.com/rooted and I’ll put the link in my show notes.
Now, for today’s episode I’m talking with Sasha Glasgow. A self-described professional experimenter Sasha hosts journalling workshops and the podcast This is your remindher. I loved our conversation as we explored how journalling can help us find calm and ease, how it’s not just for working through problems or asking ourselves the big questions in life, and how we can be rebellious with journalling to make it work for us…
[00:00:00] Gabrielle: Hi, Sasha. Thank you so much for joining me today.
[00:00:03] Sasha: Hello, thank you for having me.
[00:00:06] Gabrielle: I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do please.
[00:00:11] Sasha: Yes. Well, this has evolved somewhat. I am a creative writer. I’ve started freelancing in the last year, um, around my writing. I also host journaling workshops online. I would also say I am a woman figuring it out because freelancing isn’t the whole makeup of my work. I also work part-time in administration.
So I think I’m what they call like a slashie or, a multihyphenate, there’s, there’s lots going on, but, um, I feel like I’ve given myself permission to open up and be open to what can come of my creativity and so that’s a new part of work life for me, that’s really exciting. And in the last couple of months I started a podcast. So I’m also a podcaster.
[00:01:05] Gabrielle: Fabulous. I’m loving the multi-hyphen-ness of it all.
[00:01:09] Sasha: Yeah. Yeah. It’s fun it’s really expa nsive there. Maybe you would call me like a professional experimenter,
[00:01:18] Gabrielle: Mm,
[00:01:19] Sasha: I’m having fun doing it.
[00:01:22] Gabrielle: That’s a great title. Yeah. And I love that you’re giving yourself permission to experiment, to try these different things and to Sort of spread your wings into different areas of creativity.
[00:01:33] Sasha: Yeah, I, I really am. I spent a long time kind of trying to be on the single career trajectory just because I thought I should. And I think if there’s any term that I’m trying to avoid, uh, spend the rest of my life avoiding it’s the word should now. Even if I can’t figure why I’m doing it or what the reasons for if, if the urge is there, I’m generally giving things a go.
[00:01:59] Gabrielle: Yeah. I am completely with you on anti the word should it is not helpful in our lives, no.
[00:02:07] Sasha: Not at all. It’s restrictive and. It kind of it’s repressive and it tells you which way you’re meant to go based on which way other people have gone. And we are just all completely different, unique bespoke. Even if we follow the same path as someone else we’re likely doing so in a different time or a different place or, or within, I don’t know, a different culture or makeup.
So honestly, I think potentially on the other side of the pandemic, my feeling is kind of just do what you want, do what you want, do what lights you up and see how it goes.
[00:02:45] Gabrielle: Yeah on the other side of that feeling that’s where you’re more likely to find calm and joy, isn’t it? Because shoulds – they do not help us find the calm and the joy that we want They’re going to block it aren’t they?
[00:02:58] Sasha: 100%. They really, really do. I think it’s just in allowing yourself to be rather than trying to convince, contort or tell yourself what you should be. There’s just so much effort in that. And to be honest, I don’t have the energy any longer to try and keep up scaffolding that I never asked for.
So, um, yeah, this is me professional experimenter.
[00:03:27] Gabrielle: Brilliant love the title. So I wanted to ask you about journaling because I know that’s a big part of what you are doing and exploring with other people with the workshops you run. Can we go right back to basics and explain what is journaling for anybody listening who’s not familiar with it, please.
[00:03:45] Sasha: Journaling to me is very simply about expression about self-expression. It can take many forms, but I consider myself to be a rebel journaler. And I think that’s why my workshops are quite interesting to people because everything I think that has a, a visible kind of sheen or that can be presented as something that’s seen, we can get caught up in what we think things should, there’s that word again, should look like or how long we should be writing for, or, what kind of questions we should be asking ourselves. And to me, intuitive journaling is very much led by each person. For me, simply journalling is expression potentially on a page, but it could be on a laptop. It could be audio as in spoken into a phone, maybe, as long as you feel that you have made, a, a regular whatever regular looks like to you, appointment with yourself to kind of hear your thoughts. That is what journaling is to me.
[00:04:55] Gabrielle: Expression. I love that I actually haven’t really heard people talk about journaling as something as simple as expression. And I love the way that you are giving permission to do it in the way that feels right for you. Because I find that even when I talk about journaling in my area of work, people quite often get a bit stuck on what type of journal they should use.
So straightaway it’s writing when, you know, laptop, isn’t being applied here. Recording your audio isn’t applied here, it’s writing. It’s what kind of journal? And then there’s that fear of the blank page. They don’t want to mess it up. What should they be writing about? Should it be prompts? How long should you – see all the shoulds! How long should they be spending doing it? Yeah, so many shoulds can get in the way.
[00:05:38] Sasha: So many shoulds and so many of those things form obstacles, look at how many obstacles you came up with before even being able to start. And that’s something that you want to give a go let alone something you might be resistant to. Um, so I try and I guess take the mounted, uh, make less of a mountain out of the molehill or whichever way round the phrase goes when considering journaling, because I know that’s what a lot of people, come to journaling with, like a sort of not expectation, but maybe there’s certain stereotypes that they’ve picked up.
Well, I’m not very good with words. I’m not a good writer, so I couldn’t do X, Y, Z. And so I try to offer different ways of approaching the page and in the hope that people can find a few things that gel with them, that they can carry forward and develop a practice with.
[00:06:29] Gabrielle: Hmm, I wonder, would you be able to share with us a little bit about your own journaling practice?
[00:06:34] Sasha: Yeah. Sure. So when I, first to be honest, I don’t remember when I started journaling. I have never not had pen and paper in my hand. I am a pen and paper girl that’s me. Um, but I have used and actually do use, online journaling. You can get access all sorts of like free private journal spaces that you can use.
And I, my notes on my phone, the voice recorder is full to busting of me recording myself while I’m driving or just out and about and pen and paper’s not necessarily handy. But I have found, I guess, routine or rhythm actually with three journaling anchors. And I guess this kind of combines two questions in one, if you were to ask me where someone might start with journaling, I would say to start with what is now my foundation, which are my journaling anchors.
And so those are just three simple words that I put as bullet points on their page. So there you go, don’t need to write reams and paragraphs. It can start with simple bullet points and they are three themes that affect I find affect my day guide my day, or help me navigate the day. And that I recurrently every time I come to the page, ask myself.
So for me, my journaling anchors are what’s going on in your body? How was your sleep? Because I’m a morning person or a morning journaler that might change depending on the person. And, the third one is what’s going on in your mind or what’s your mood. So it’s just simply body, sleep and my mood. And I will write a couple of sentences on each bullet point. It may just be a few words. And then if I feel like there’s something else, I will let myself continue on. And, maybe one bullet point could just be three words whereas another one could be a page and a half. But I like that I can have those anchors that helped me think, okay, well, if this is a low energy day, or if my body feels like this, maybe this thing that was on the to do list needs to shift or come off. Or maybe I’ve had great sleep and so I feel really energized and I can take something else on. I find thinking about your journaling anchors and the things that kind of ground you into a day, a really useful practice, um, to start and continue our journaling practice. I have done things like morning pages, which is where you just write literally whatever is in your mind even if it’s I’m really thirsty and I want a cup of tea, um, uh, on, on a page. They typically say, if you do them for three pages, like I say, I’m a rebel journaller. I write until I’m finished. And when I’m done, I’m done. If it’s, you know, two paragraphs or two pages, then so be it. I don’t necessarily believe in rules for my journal, because that is part of it being a freedom space for me. And also part of not building obstacles where they don’t need to be. So yeah, I’m quite a rebel in my journaling I have, bullet points and brainstorms and doodles and single singular words. I don’t necessarily always answer questions. I just write what feels.
What feels right at the time. And sometimes that means nothing because I don’t actually journal every day. Sometimes I don’t feel the need to, but I do always know that when I come back to my page, I always have my anchors that I can ease myself back in with and kind of ground and check in with
[00:10:24] Gabrielle: Those three words, those three anchors that you gave, I think are such powerful words to choose. Body, sleep and mood. That makes it really easy. Straight away to just start journaling. We’re not talking about answering great big in-depth soul searching questions, but also with the relatively straightforwardness of those questions is raising your awareness of every day, if you do it every day or however many times a week you do it,of how you feel what’s going on with you. And the more that you can recognize what is going on with you, the more you’re in tune as to how can I best help myself today. What is it that I need? What is it I’m looking for? What is it that I don’t want?
Where am I able to give myself some care and attention? How can I bring more calm and joy into my day? Yeah, really powerful.
[00:11:14] Sasha: You’ve absolutely got it. Having just those three bullet points means that I’m brought into the moment and I’m like, oh, okay. So how was my sleep? Not what is my Fitbit telling me. Or, you know, whatever sports watch, how, how was my sleep? How does my body feel? Let me pay a little bit of attention. Well, it feels like there’s a bit of a crick in my neck there or whatever, and it’s not necessarily looking for the monumental things.
Sometimes it is just digging into those really small things like, oh, I feel dehydrated as I woke up with a little bit of a headache, small things like that, I think the more we pay attention to the small things that are present in the moment, it can help us with those bigger questions or answers that maybe we’re looking for. It’s getting into the habit of hearing yourself.
[00:12:04] Gabrielle: Yeah, like you say, and hearing yourself, not your Fitbit, not a bit of technology, not the, you know, the thing on your phone that tells been doing, what are you feeling inside? What are you learning from yourself? Yeah. Yeah. I often, describe journaling in like a basic way as emptying your head onto a piece of paper, you know, I talk a lot about, how journaling can, when you’ve got a very kind of busy mind, it’s all feeling a bit stressy there’s an awful lot going on. You can’t think straight, if you just get all the stuff that’s spinning around in your head, down onto a piece of paper or into an audio note or onto a document on your computer. When it’s out of your head, it’s no longer spinning around and you can then look at it and see what there is.
And actually, oh, it’s not that big a deal or, oh, look, I’ve just found the solution which was within there. And obviously that then helps you to, to find more calm because actually you’re no longer, stressing out with all the stuff that’s spinning in your brain. How do you find journaling helps?
Whether it be yourself or with the people that you work with in your workshops, to find and tap into some more calm and create some more joy.
[00:13:12] Sasha: Well, exactly, like you said, spilling your thoughts out onto a page again, and I will keep emphasizing it no matter what it looks like. It doesn’t need to be neat well-formed fully formed sentences. It could just be bullet points or a list of something, a brainstorm and just random words that happen to mean something to you.
Because sometimes even though writing, on a physical page, it slows down your mind to meet the pace of the writing. Sometimes your brain doesn’t want to cooperate and there’s way too much going on. So just write the single word. You can come back and fill it out. Exactly, as you said, for me, journalling brings calm because it brings space.
It brings space into my mind. It helps close a few tabs. It’s in a weird way, it’s like a conversation with myself and it’s like me saying things, but through a pen and sometimes getting them out of my head and onto a page helps to kind of put them in to perspective. Sometimes things can circle around in my mind and feel so big.
And when I actually write it down and I’m like, okay, so what actually is here, what’s actually going on with this thing in my mind. And the best thing for me, apart from expression is the fact that journaling. Gives me space. And I’m actually in a, in a bit of a moment right now where I’m realising how much space I think I need both mentally, physically, in terms of my calendar.
Um, Yeah. It’s, it’s a very big thing for me so it makes sense why journaling is like my number one pal.
[00:14:59] Gabrielle: Yeah. So it helps you create space. How do you feel that it helps you to tap into some calm, to create some joy?
[00:15:08] Sasha: Few ways actually. So I think it helps me to cultivate joy because I make sure that I don’t just journal about the big questions, the existential things, it’s not always deep introspection to what’s going on with me as a human being. I don’t just fill my pages with drama and trauma. I make sure that I regularly make space to journal for joy.
And in that I know we hear a lot about gratitude lists, but actually I tend to write about tiny delights and they are small things that happen in my every day. I sit and take a few moments and think what’s been good today? What have I liked? Because, and the reason I think of them as tiny delights is because gratitude sometimes I think is something you have to go in search of.
Whereas the tiny delights that are already in my every day, things that I have bought in and I’ve decided autonomously for them to be there a lot of the time and that is quite good at putting things into perspective for me. And that helps me tap into a lot of joy about what’s what already is and what already is here.
And then I think in terms of calm, I think it’s just the moment of quiet and stillness. It doesn’t matter how long it is. It doesn’t need to be an hour. It could be five minutes. There have been times honestly, where I’ve got out a notebook and I have just written out what’s in my mind, or potentially asked myself a question and written a simple list in the time that it takes for the kettle to boil.
I know that it takes a kettle anywhere between 90 seconds and two minutes to boil because I’ve done it. And that’s my journaling for the day.
[00:16:55] Gabrielle: Yeah, simple, simple. It can take two minutes the time for the kettle to boil. And I love the fact that you write about what gives you joy, because I think that often journaling can be promoted as this thing that you do when you’re struggling. The thing that you do, when, you know, like I said, you know, when you want to empty your brain, it isn’t just about, that’s definitely helpful, but it doesn’t have to just be when you need to empty your brain, when you want to do the soul searching. It’s brilliant for that.
But also, what about when you just want to write down what lovely things you have done today, how lovely you have felt, those little joys, those little moments that have felt good. Why not get all those down on paper as well? It’s going to help embed it into your memory better, isn’t it?
[00:17:36] Sasha: Exactly. Yes, because there’s the thing that happened. And then there’s writing about the joy that happened, which it does, it kind of embeds it, like you say. And also I don’t want to associate journalling just with those kinds of negatives or figuring out, or trying to fix or mend or heal because who wants to do that all the time?
I’m not going to want to build a habit or a practice cause I’m literally going to associate the book or, or that time with those feelings. No, it’s for all of me. That’s, that’s one thing from, with my journal, it is for all of me, it’s for the mess, it’s for the things I don’t understand. It’s for the small things in the everyday it’s for those eureka aha moments when I’m like, oh, wait something big makes sense now. It’s for the pivotal and, the not so pivotal it’s for it all. It’s for the anger it’s for the things that maybe I, I don’t feel okay saying in real life yet, but it’s kind of like the transition went between my head and out there in real life. So it’s for all of me.
[00:18:47] Gabrielle: I feel that that brings us perfectly full circle back to your gorgeous definition of journaling in the first place, which was expression it’s for you to express all of the stuff.
Not just some of the stuff.
[00:18:59] Sasha: Yeah. because I mean, we’re, we’re expected in, you know, there are codes of conduct in no matter which space you occupy in the world, no matter which spaces you occupy for work or in the roles you play and maybe family setup. And for me, my journal is the one place where, in the same way that the phrase goes, something like dance, like no one’s watching, I treat my journal in that way. And it’s for everything. To me, there’s no point being restrictive or thinking I can only do it if it’s pretty, or if there’s no mistakes because the world out there asks way too much of that. And I’m not going to have that in this page. Otherwise it just becomes a to-do list thing and we don’t need any more to do lists either.
[00:19:46] Gabrielle: We really, we really do not. So write like nobody else will read it.
I have one final question for you, Sasha. What are you going to do today to give yourself a moment of calm and joy?
[00:19:57] Sasha: Well, I was going to go to a coffee shop after our conversation, but actually ended up being before. So I feel like I’ve already given myself my bit of calm and joy. I went to a very well-known chain where I could get a, dessert that poses as a coffee. And I sat with a book for 20 minutes and just read and had my delicious liquid dessert and it was wonderful.
[00:20:25] Gabrielle: I’m intrigued. I’m now thinking I need to find this dessert that’s posing as a coffee. Where can listeners find and connect with you, Sasha?
[00:20:34] Sasha: If you’re the Instagram type, you can connect with me @frankandfeel, or I have a website called frankandfeel.com so you can see what I’m doing with words and work and I am also, podcasting at the moment. You can find me by searching ‘This is your remindher’, and that’s remindher with an H in there w herever you listen to podcasts.
[00:20:59] Gabrielle: Fabulous. Thank you so much, Sasha.
[00:21:01] Sasha: Thank you.
I loved talking with Sasha, her take on journalling and making it work for you is so refreshing, I hope you enjoyed it too. For the show notes and links mentioned in this episode 89 go to gabrielletreanor.com/podcast.
And if you’d like to take a look at Rooted, the self-paced online course I mentioned at the start of this episode, designed to help you feel more calm, in control and confident you can cope, go to gabrielletreanor.com/rooted.
Finally, if you enjoy listening to this podcast it would be fantastic if you could leave a review on iTunes so that other people can find and hopefully enjoy this podcast too.
Thanks again for listening, until next time, lovely people.
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